Taylor’s great contribution to industrial production was to attempt to apply the principles of scientific analysis to work and its organization. He placed great emphasis upon measurement and time and conceived the idea that there was a ‘one best way’ of organizing work, one way that would yield greater efficiencies in terms of time and costs than any other. He assumed that the nature of man’s motivation was essential, that man could and would be motivated by the prospect of earning more.
Basing his approach on this belief, he began the process of measurement and experimentation that led to the development of the means whereby the labor process could be designed and so organized to facilitate the mass production of standardized products. This was achieved through the design and division of work into a large number of small tasks, each of which required very little skill and were performed by units of labor on a repetitive basis.
Each of the tasks was to be as simple as possible and the belief was that with experience labor would become more and more proficient at the individual constituents of the process and efficiency would improve to the optimum levels. Responsibility for the design, planning, organizing and control of the process of production was to be divorced from the labor engaged in the production process and performed by others.
This contributed in large measure to the development of the management functions, and formed a basis for the development of a managerial cadre. Subsequently, Henry Ford, the automobile manufacturer, came to be seen as one of the major proponents of these techniques and principles. (In truth, Ford denied influences of Taylor’s scientific management on his approach, and it is possible that both these men entertained mutual antipathy).
Differences between taylorism and fordism
In effect, Fordism can be considered as an adaptation and practical large-scale application of principles of Taylorism. This is the reason why Fordism is most often referred to in the same breath as Taylorism. As elaborated by Frederick Taylor and successfully implemented and popularized by Henry Ford, the principles of scientific management had one predominant aim: the cheapening of the cost of production by increasing substantially the output of individual workers.